PESO Model

Building your brand awareness takes time, especially if you rely on earned media to reach your audience. But you can optimize your public relations by integrating the PESO model into your communications strategy, which will help increase your reach to key stakeholders. This model showcases how your target audience receives information through multiple channels and why it’s necessary to get your brand messages in front of them.

What is the PESO Model?

The PESO model is a PR strategy that uses integrative communications to maximize audience reach efficiently and effectively. According to Gini Dietrich, author of Spin Sucks, each media type works independently and interlinks with the others. The idea of aligning content across platforms will allow you to reach your target audience more effectively through multiple connection points, ultimately expanding your communications reach.

Why is the PESO Model Important?

The PESO model is important because it gives communicators multiple avenues for reaching their audience, allowing them to rely on more than just earned media coverage. Utilizing more than one channel boosts your content and amplifies your message. By incorporating this model into your communications strategy, you can set goals to inform, inspire, build relationships with, and influence your audience.

Implementing this model not only offers several channels for sharing content but also provides means to measure your communications efforts and prove the value of your work.

How to Use the PESO Model in Communications

When considering how you can use the PESO model to accelerate your communications strategy, it is essential to consider your company’s objectives, your target audience, and what your competitors are doing. This insight will help you to determine which channels are best for sharing your message and what your target audience looks for on those channels.

Here is how you can use each facet of the PESO Model in your communications:

Paid Media

Paid media can help promote your brand messages by placing your content directly in front of your target audience. It includes sponsored content, advertising, paid search results, and sponsorships, but it doesn’t have to break your budget. Start by testing various types of paid content to determine which avenues have the greatest return for your brand.

Earned Media

Earned media is crucial to boosting your brand awareness. Creating newsworthy content, connecting with influencers, and understanding your target audience is vital to gaining earned coverage. Building relationships with your industry bloggers, influencers, and journalists who could share your brand messages will help them become familiar with your company and the value it offers your shared audience.

As you generate earned media coverage, your team can measure message pull-through to determine whether your brand values and messages have been communicated effectively. Then you can establish a strategy for future campaigns using knowledge of what did and did not work.

Shared Media

Shared media refers to content on any social media platform. It is an important tool for building brand awareness and allows you to create a sense of community around your brand.

For the best results, research each platform to see which ones work for your industry and target audience. Keep in mind that each platform features unique content types and favors specific methods of sharing. You will want to tailor the frequency of your posts, the format of your content, and even the time of day you share to each platform’s algorithm to effectively engage its audience.  

After researching social platform best practices, you can start experimenting with content and testing the results.

Owned Media

Owned media is any content or platforms you have direct control over, including websites, newsletters, press releases, blogs, and social media channels. These media assets allow your team to take control of your brand narrative and produce content highlighting your key messages. When done right, owned media can even generate earned and shared media coverage.

Evaluate Your PESO Strategy

Once you implement the PESO Model, you can measure its effectiveness with media analytics. By identifying trends in your media coverage and evaluating metrics such as key message penetration, social engagement, and press release pick-up, you can refine your application of the PESO Model to improve your strategy going forward.

Using the PESO Model for Better Communications

Using the PESO Model will allow you to optimize your communications and boost your brand. By integrating the four media types, your team can establish consistent and authentic messaging that has a greater impact on your audience.

At PublicRelay, we provide highly accurate and nuanced media analytics with our hybrid approach using human expertise and advanced technology. We can help you identify communications trends and best practices, measure and benchmark your progress, and prove your impact, so you can more effectively reach your target audience and your communications goals. Click here to learn more!

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PR Landscape Analysis

To succeed in Public Relations, you must apply what you learned in the previous year to improve your odds in the New Year. We recommend a PR Landscape Analysis as the best way to catalog, evaluate, and improve upon your situation. The analysis answers such questions as: What is the current environment? What place do we hold within this environment? Why is this so? Is it likely to continue? What do we need to know now to improve our position? Even if you think you know the answers, the current atmosphere indicates a need for each of us to consider such an analysis to reassess our current communications environment.

What is a PR Landscape Analysis?

The PR “landscape” of which we speak reflects your business landscape. It is comprised of external actors, like your customers, competitors, shareholders, regulators, journalists, social media influencers, and politicians, as well as local community groups in cities where you conduct business. It also incorporates the changing business, cultural, and societal norms that dictate what it takes to be an admired organization and preferred brand now. The “landscape” also includes internal stakeholders such as the senior executives who allocate funding for PR and evaluate PR programs, as well as employees and peers to address in-house factors such as new developments and other marketing communications initiatives within your organization. 

A PR landscape analysis enables the communicator to:

  • Assess strengths and weaknesses versus existing objectives, competitors, and past performance
  • Detect and evaluate the viability of new PR opportunities
  • Accurately forecast potential risks and opportunities
  • Set objectives that are meaningful, reasonable, and measurable
  • Adapt strategies and tactics to markets, trends, and stakeholder priorities
  • Identify ways to differentiate your value proposition
  • Reaffirm understanding and gain direction among internal stakeholders
  • Evaluate competitors, opposition, and aspirational peers

Planning Your PR Landscape Analysis

To begin, you must fully understand your senior executives’ expectations, preferences, and values as they relate to public relations: what do they value most and least? And how do you perform against these priorities? To succeed, you must also uncover the specific metrics by which they choose to measure PR success (and yours). You must also reaffirm the professional attributes they consider most and least important, as well as how well you perform against those preferences. In a way, this may amount to initiating your annual performance evaluation early but, once you uncover their attitudes and preferences towards PR and your ability to deliver on their priorities, your path becomes very clear. 

Five Steps for A Successful PR Landscape Analysis

The PR Landscape Analysis involves research and analysis to set the stage for what comes next: objectives setting, planning, activation, and evaluation. To accelerate your PR Landscape Analysis in pursuit of a fresh start, here are five basic steps to achieve your goal:

Set Your Objectives

The first step in the PR Landscape Analysis requires you to clarify your objectives for doing it in the first place. The most essential step in any discovery process is to know the purpose of the endeavor. What do you hope to learn? What questions must you ask and among which stakeholders to achieve your goal? 

Define the Scope

The second step reflects your need to specify the scope of your analysis. Once you set your objectives for this endeavor, you must determine the breadth of your research. One meaningful factor to consider is the priorities of your organization. Does the organization aspire for some greater purpose beyond just “sales?” You must also factor in the priorities of your internal and external stakeholders. Internal stakeholders include executives with influence over PR funding and the evaluation of the PR function as well as employees and peers in adjacent departments.

The analysis should reveal the degree to which your messaging aligns with the objectives of your organization as well as the priorities of external stakeholders both domestically and internationally. What’s more, aim to gain new insights into your competitors’ activity and the extent to which they’ve succeeded or fallen short in reference to your objectives.   

Understand Your Stakeholders

The third step in the process requires you to identify what you need to know about each stakeholder. For every group, you must seek to learn what’s important and how you’re performing on what’s important. For example, with media coverage and social media activity, assess message frequency, reach, tone, and the degree to which you delivered the intended message (as well as “unintended” and critical coverage). For customers, demographic and firmographic information helps to identify the media your stakeholders favor. Media analysis, social media listening, and surveys reveal the answers to these essential questions.

Start Your Research

Step four involves “digging deeper.” Once you understand the objectives, scope, and data intelligence you need, it’s time to conduct the research and probe the data with a variety of research tools and methods to gather insights and produce the analysis. You must also answer the essential quality-related question of “what’s good enough?” The research methods you employ can vary from free conference room brainstorms and Google searches to the use of secondary research, surveys, and media analysis. With the benefit of tools and research experience, you may conduct the research yourself or, if you have the resources and expect big changes in the upcoming year, you may hire an independent communications research provider who may be more objective and experienced in the process.  

Analyze Your Data

Step five involves synthesizing and analyzing the data to uncover insights and explore implications. To generate additional insights, consider engaging colleagues from marketing and human resources before finalizing since they target similar audiences and may be working toward the same business outcomes as you. Only after thoughtful vetting, you should present to senior leadership to discuss findings and recommendations along with implications. Your leadership’s buy-in enables you and your communications team to proceed with minimal risk. Catalog any conclusions drawn from the PR Landscape Analysis meetings with top executives and get final authorization before executing the recommended steps. 

PR Landscape Analysis for Better Communications

We operate in challenging times, but research and evaluation equip us to make better decisions under difficult circumstances.

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Mark Weiner is Chief Insights Officer for PublicRelay and the author of “PR Technology, Data and Insights: Igniting a Positive Return on Your Communications Investment.”

Originally published in PRNEWS January 2021 issue.

Editor’s Note: At PublicRelay, our quarterly Benchmark report conducts an in-depth analysis of the communications of some of the world’s leading brands. Check out our Communications in Context series for insights into the PR landscape and a sample of the key insights from our latest Benchmark report!

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Targeted Media in PR

In a world where PR campaigns compete to gain audience attention, using the right media outlet to access your target audience is vital. Once it is clear who your target audience is in terms of demographics – age, gender, location, etc. – you must learn how and where that audience consumes media and how best you can access them.

What is Targeted Media in PR?

Targeted media in PR is the list of media outlets or contacts you plan to direct your pitches to. The ideal target media includes those that will allow you to reach your audience with credibility and authenticity. Outlet or platform types (e.g., traditional print media, social media, broadcast, and digital media), individual publications, authors or journalists, and social influencers are all essential components of your targeted media list.

Why is Targeted Media in PR Important? 

Targeted media in PR is important because coverage in the correct outlets can help your messages cut through the noise and engage your target audience. It will, in turn, help deliver your message directly to your audience and will assist in achieving your individual PR campaign goals. 

How to Identify Your Targeted Media in PR

Identifying the correct media type will ensure that your messages reach your audience efficiently. Here are the steps you can take to determine the right media for your PR campaigns:

Determine Your Target Audience 

The simplest way to determine your target audience is by breaking down a large group according to various demographics such as age, gender, disposable income, location, etc. Discovering your audience through social media and community groups can help you better understand who they are and how they engage with your organization or media content in general. Further, actively researching the media type your target audience engages with will help you to refine your targeted media list.

Establish the Goal of Your Content 

Once you’ve pinpointed your target audience, you can evaluate outlets and media through the lens of what you want your PR to achieve. If your goal is to improve your brand awareness, focus on the media types that can support that, such as national publications with sizeable general audiences. Alternatively, let’s say your PR goal is to mobilize an audience to act by voting in a local election or donating to a cause, for example. This may be more effectively achieved through smaller localized publications or specific interest media outlets. 

Research Media Contacts 

Researching outlets and authors will provide valuable insights into the publications most suited to your PR campaign. Compile a list of metrics – covered topics, competitor coverage, and social media engagement – on each prospective outlet and journalist. PublicRelay, through extensive media research, has a database of outlets, authors, and influencers who comment on topics relevant to your industry. An in-depth database with details on relevant media contacts and capabilities for filtering by location, outlet size, reach, etc., can help you build a targeted media list that is adaptable to each PR campaign.

Compile a Targeted Media List 

As mentioned by Forbes, you don’t necessarily have to limit yourself to one specific media source, and using a combination of outlets is often highly valuable. Your sources may include local or national newspapers, radio, trade, or technical magazines with a specific interest, local bloggers who are consumers of your product or service, and social media platforms where your audience can actively engage with your campaign.

Finding the right outlets to add to your list can be obtained by looking through previous press releases and researching what your competitors are doing and who they are engaging with their content on social media. A media list should be adaptive and will change over time, which will help you home in on the correct outlet at the right time, which can eventually build brand awareness on a local, national, or international level.

Build Relationships with Media Contacts 

Establishing relationships with your media contacts will help you generate more earned coverage with less effort over time. According to LinkedIn, a positive step in creating such a relationship would be to develop a rapport before formally pitching to a potential media partner. By creating friendly relationships with journalists interested in your field and offering them content opportunities, they will begin to view you as a valuable resource. Most importantly, targeting the right journalists from the outset of a PR campaign will make your efforts at relationship building appear more authentic and set you up for long-term connections with authors interested in reporting on your industry.

Test and Measure

Once your campaign is up and running you can begin to assess its impact through several metrics such as tone, the volume of earned media content, and social engagement. Having analytics available to provide insights on sentiment, reach, and social engagement will allow you to assess your brand’s impact on your audience. Further, analyzing how the media discusses your brand against your messaging will help you to understand your message pull-through and, ultimately, the effectiveness of your targeted media list.

In addition to measuring the success of your campaign, media analytics will also highlight opportunities to create influencer partnerships and relationships with journalists who covered your brand or industry favorably.

Create Your Targeted Media List with Precision

Having great content that’s interesting and newsworthy is wasted if it doesn’t reach your target audience. The key to getting high-value earned coverage lies in targeting the right media sources that have effectively tapped into your audience. By choosing the outlets and journalists most appropriate to your PR campaigns, you can boost your brand’s visibility and improve its reputation.

PublicRelay can provide advanced insights on the outlets and journalists writing favorably about the topics and companies important to your brand, and provide data that can help you compile your ideal targeted media list. Click here to learn more!

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On June 24, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization legal case effectively reversed Roe v. Wade (1973) and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey (1992). The decision to overturn the two landmark cases – which had established and affirmed a constitutional right to an abortion, respectively – now leaves it up to each state to regulate abortion access with the ability to go as far as banning it entirely.

As states react to the ruling – some with increased restrictions on abortion access and others with expansions to access – so does the corporate sector.

Companies Must Take a Stance

The issue of abortion rights is a divisive topic that many companies may prefer to leave to the public sector. But research shows that Americans want companies and their executives to take a stance on political issues, and the abortion debate is no exception.

The stakes are high, too. Not only will corporate responses have implications for companies’ reputations, but they will also impact employer brand as more employees, particularly Gen Z workers, will turn to employers for additional benefits to compensate for restrictive social policies.

Developing an Abortion Rights Communications Strategy

This means that your communications approach to abortion rights will likely become a significant factor in shaping your reputation going forward. And, while your company’s executives or board members may determine its position on abortion rights, the delivery is up to you.

So, how do you develop messaging on a sensitive social topic like abortion rights in a way that resonates with your audience?

How Social Media Analytics Can Illuminate the Conversation

While opinion polls are an excellent resource for gauging public sentiment on social topics like abortion, they often don’t capture the nuances of the broader discussions that can guide your messaging.

That’s where social media comes in.

Because social media platforms host a significant portion of the ongoing public discourse surrounding abortion rights, it contains a depth of data that goes far beyond the polls. Not only can social media analytics identify what people care about most at any given moment, but it can also uncover the subtleties of the discussion, highlighting how you can frame your messaging to cut through the noise.  

At PublicRelay, we used social media sampling to analyze a random sample of 2,143 tweets (from a total of nearly 70k) from June 20 to July 3, 2022, containing keywords related to abortion and the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade.*

With this method, we tracked the Twitter conversation around abortion rights to gain an insight into audience perspectives and the messages that resonate.

Here’s what we found:

The Abortion Rights Twitter Conversation Reflects National Public Opinion

The abortion rights conversation exploded on Twitter immediately following the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and it’s a discussion that’s likely to continue.

Our Twitter sampling results closely align with the results of a May 2022 Gallop poll, with 57% of tweets opposed to overturning Roe and 37% in favor of the Court’s ruling.

Interestingly, pro-abortion rights messages have an outsized social reach. Tweets against overturning Roe reached an audience 5x the size of those in favor of overturning Roe. In other words, anti-abortion rights tweets have a much smaller following than pro-abortion rights messages.

How Abortion Fits into Healthcare is a Leading Message

On both sides of the debate, messages about whether abortion constitutes healthcare captivate a significant share of the Twitter audience.

social media analytics

The “abortion is not healthcare” message accounts for nearly a quarter of the anti-abortion rights Twitter audience. Meanwhile, “abortion is healthcare” is the second leading pro-abortion rights message – behind “overturning Roe restricts bodily autonomy” – and received significant Twitter audience reach.

The Focus on Company Actions is Likely to Grow

In the immediate aftermath of the ruling, most of the Twitter conversation focuses on the overturning of Roe itself. Though companies’ responses to the decision appear in only 2% of tweets, that is likely to change as more state laws take effect and corporate responses materialize. Ultimately, the public expects companies to react, and we anticipate the Twitter conversation to reflect that.

So far, company actions mentioned in abortion tweets include travel support for abortion care, data privacy related to abortion services, corporate support of politicians on either side of the abortion rights debate, and company statements.

Using Social Media Analytics to Improve Communications

Let’s examine how social media sampling insights can fill the gaps when refining your abortion rights messaging.

For instance, Morning Consult polling data indicates that U.S. consumers want brands to support abortion access. Its July 2022 survey results found that most respondents “favored companies’ declaring a pro-choice position: Nearly half (49%) said they support when companies make a statement in opposition to the decision, compared with 29% in support of a statement that endorses the ruling.”

This information may help a brand decide to vocalize its pro-abortion rights stance. But what’s the best way to do it?

Consider our finding that “abortion is healthcare” messages resonate with the pro-abortion rights Twitter audience, paired with evidence that more workers expect employers to offer health insurance covering contraception and family planning services. Messaging that highlights how the company intends to include support for abortion access as a part of its employee healthcare benefits will align with a prominent thread of the abortion rights conversation while bolstering the company’s employer brand.

Building a Strategy for Sensitive Social Topics

Companies will face increasing pressure to respond to the overturning of Roe v. Wade and other sensitive social issues. And, because of its implications for reputation, communications around these topics are best not left to trial-and-error.

As a communicator, you can build a strategy that uses data to direct your messaging and navigate even the most heated social topics.

At PublicRelay, we use human-augmented technology to analyze conversations surrounding broad social topics for concepts, sentiment, and trends to shed light on the complex social issues that impact your brand. Click here to learn more!

*The number of sampled tweets was stratified to be proportional to the raw volume of tweets each day, and retweets were excluded from the sample. The analyzed sample is representative of the overall Twitter conversation related to abortion and Roe during the two-week period with 95% confidence, given a 2% margin of error. Learn more about how we use social media sampling to extract statistically significant insights from Twitter data.

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Editor’s Note: As our Chief Insights Officer, Mark Weiner, explains below, no PR measurement program is complete without benchmarking. But for truly relevant insights, you need a benchmark built around communicators. That’s why we launched the PublicRelay Benchmark so you can evaluate your PR performance against the world’s best communications. Preview a few of the media trends and insights from our Q1 Benchmark report now!

Media content analysis continues to be one of the most popular forms of PR research and evaluation. This approach involves the deconstruction of traditional and social media content to convert text, video, and audio content into actionable data representing individual messages as well as the names of spokespeople, opinion leaders, and influencers. Once converted to data, the researcher seeks to detect trends, uncover insights, and propose future action.

Thorough media analysis includes each of the following: quantitative analysis (frequency and reach); qualitative analysis (tone/sentiment and message delivery); comparative analysis (your performance versus other measures); and business impact (PR’s effect on revenue generation, efficiency, and cost avoidance). In this column, we focus on comparative analysis, commonly known as “benchmarking.”

Why Benchmarking Matters

Smart communicators use benchmarking to assess their environment, gain perspective, and refine for better results. Without the context of comparative analysis, one can pursue what seems like a proper PR plan by setting measurable objectives, developing data-informed strategy and tactics, and evaluating performance… and get everything absolutely wrong.

Imagine this scenario: a communicator sets an objective to improve by 20% over the previous period by generating 500 positive stories per month, 80% of which contain one or more key messages, and 20% of which appear in top-tier media. Sounds good. Even if they achieve all their objectives, they may hit their numbers and fail miserably. Why? Because their competitors aren’t idle: they may have generated 1000 positive stories per month, 90% of which contain three key messages and 40% of which appear in top-tier media. In the absence of competitive benchmarks, your program can only be partially informed and your advice to leadership will be inaccurate or irrelevant. 

The Best Benchmarking Metrics

Benchmarking adds insights when done right. The best comparisons to include are:

  • Performance versus objectives: Assuming you set measurable objectives at the start, good objectives answer “the what” (what are you measuring), “the when” (the period of activation), the “among whom” (the intended audience), and the “by how much” (the level of improvement). If among your objectives you see, “generate significant buzz,” “break through the media clutter,” or “raise media awareness,” you’re in trouble because they aren’t measurable.
  • Performance versus competitors: One of the most compelling measures to management is whether (and the degree to which) you beat competitors. Even if you have many competitors, focus on those that matter most: the market-share leader, the most innovative, and the one that keeps the CEO up at night.
  • Performance versus aspirational peers: There are times when your traditional competitive set may not provide the insights you need. Being the best performer among losers is no great distinction. In such cases, you may choose to add an “aspirational peer.” For example, nowadays almost every company competes for talent. Many companies compete for ESG investors regardless of sector. So even if you’re in financial services, you may want to benchmark against Salesforce; widely recognized as a top ESG company and innovator. Benchmarking against aspirational peers enables you to pursue “the best of the best.”
  • Performance over time: If you set measurable objectives in the prior period, you can measure the degree to which you improved performance since then. Senior executives may not understand PR or the media, but they recognize continuous improvement. One wrinkle: the state of the media business portends great difficulty if you focus solely on quantitative measures: circulations are down and the emergence of “news deserts,” content sharing through common ownership, and bottom-line struggles for media around the world reveal fewer opportunities for media placements.

Even if your senior leadership knows little to nothing about public relations, all you may need to show is that you beat the competition, exceeded your objectives, and improved over last year to prove that you spent the organization’s PR investment wisely.

Improve Your Communications with Benchmarking

Benchmarking provides context and learning opportunities that enable you to be – or beat – the best.  Like all communications research and evaluation, benchmarking takes place throughout the public relations cycle rather than at the end of a sequence. Benchmark early and often to guide your progress towards continuous improvement every step of the way.

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Mark Weiner is Chief Insights Officer at PublicRelay. He is the author of “Public Relations Technology, Data and Insights” which is available for preorder now. 

Originally published in PRNEWS March 2021 issue.

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In today’s busy 24-hour news cycle, it’s essential to have a media presence and ensure that your coverage is high-quality. In other words, are your brand messages represented in your earned coverage and by outlets that reach your target audience?

But knowing which campaigns successfully generated high-quality coverage can feel like it’s up to chance. That’s why it’s important to measure the impact of your campaigns using message pull-through, so you can determine the effectiveness of your PR work and identify the communications methods that successfully cut through the noise.

What Is Message Pull-Through?

Message pull-through is when your PR campaign key messages appear in your earned coverage, indicating that it successfully resonated with the media. For example, if you are consistently promoting the sustainability of your brand and an article uses your language or touches on the same key points to describe your company, you’ve achieved message pull-through. In short, it is the through-line that shows the effectiveness of a PR and communications team via earned media coverage.

Why Is Message Pull-Through Important?

Message pull-through is important because it is a measure of your PR team’s effectiveness in promoting the values and messages your brand wants to be known for. It also means your messages are more likely to reach your target audience and boost brand awareness. Measuring the impact of your campaigns is also necessary to demonstrate a return on investment to company executives. Not only can this metric demonstrate your campaign’s effectiveness, but it can also inform your strategy for future campaigns based on what worked and what didn’t.

How to Measure Message Pull-Through

According to Invoca, message pull-through is fundamental to understanding your brand awareness and sentiment. This is because it showcases the volume with which your company is mentioned using your preferred language as well as the quality of the outlets discussing you.

To measure message pull-through, you must analyze your earned media coverage in relation to your campaign. Essential metrics include the media’s use of your brand’s language, outlet audience and reach, and the sentiment expressed when discussing your brand.

Here are the core steps for measuring your message pull-through:

Identify Your Key Messages

You must first identify your key messages, which are the main points you want your target audience to remember about your brand. For communications teams, key messages go beyond the  “what” and the “how” of what you do and include your company’s values, desired reputation, and the other elements that make you different from competitors. According to Forbes, you should pick three messages per campaign and track coverage for adherence to the key points and tone. They can be concrete or conceptual, which is why human analysis is crucial to effective media measurement of your message penetration.

Implement a Media Measurement Program

Once your key messages are established, you must set up the proper tools to measure their pull-through. With comprehensive media analytics, you can measure how an outlet discusses your brand and if it is in language that aligns with the message your team put out, as well as the tone of that coverage. Start measuring your media coverage before you launch your campaign to gather benchmark data. This allows you to compare the quality of your coverage before and after the campaign to demonstrate its impact.

Launch Your Messaging Campaign

Create your campaign, publish a press release, and reach out to your media contacts. Once your campaign is launched, your team can begin to measure its performance and analyze your coverage. When assessing press pick-up of your campaign, consider any commentary, opinions, or third-party perspectives journalists add to their coverage of your brand. It’s also important to note outlet reach and the article’s social media sharing, as this clues your team into how many people are receiving and engaging with your messaging.

Analyze Your Results

At the end of your campaign period, assess your media coverage by examining the volume of content for each key message, its sentiment, and social sharing by tone.

Be sure to dive into the authors and outlets that covered your key messages, with insights on the tone, outlet reach, and social engagement. Next, compare your results with the benchmark data collected before you launched your campaign.

In addition to determining whether your messages successfully penetrated your media coverage, these insights can also highlight opportunities for influencer partnerships with journalists that favorably covered your brand and accurately interpreted your key messages.

Increase Your Message Pull-Through

Effectively communicating your company’s brand messages is essential to reputation management and promoting brand awareness. Message pull-through is an often overlooked but important tool for analyzing the success of your PR team’s campaigns in breaking through earned media coverage with your messages.

At PublicRelay, we use human-augmented technology to accurately measure your earned media coverage for the metrics that demonstrate the impact and value of your communications.

Click here to learn more!

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The value of competitive intelligence extends beyond informing strategic business operations. PR teams can also benefit from knowing how competitors perform by tracking their earned media coverage.

By including competitive intelligence in your media measurement program, your team can access crucial insights into your industry’s PR landscape and a deeper understanding of your own communications performance.

What is Competitive Intelligence?

Competitive intelligence is the practice of collecting and analyzing data on your competitors to inform your PR strategy. In communications, it requires tracking competitors’ earned media coverage using meaningful metrics that provide insight into various aspects of their strategies and performance. This data is then used to paint a complete picture of the competitive landscape your team operates within.

Why Is Competitive Intelligence Important?

Competitive intelligence is important because it allows you to benchmark your performance against industry peers. In addition to comparative analysis, it enables you to learn from competitors’ strategies, especially when it comes to their handling of communications crises.

You can also use this data to learn what stories and topics gain the most social traction, as well as identify opportunities in your market.

How to Use Competitive Intelligence to Inform Your PR Strategy

Once you’ve identified your key competitors and started measuring their media coverage, you can begin to analyze the data against your own to generate insights that can guide your communications going forward.

Here are a few ways you can use competitive intelligence to inform your PR strategy:

Benchmark Your Performance Against Peers

Benchmarking will help you to understand your performance in relation to peers and evaluate your progress over time. Collecting data on your competitors allows you to compare your communications on a variety of metrics. There are four metrics you can use as a starting point to conduct a benchmark analysis: Article Volume and Tone, Social Sharing, Share of Voice, and Key Message Penetration.

Article Volume and Tone

Measuring Article Volume and Tone is the simplest way to get a big picture insight into your competitors’ general brand awareness and sentiment as portrayed by the media. The tone of competitors’ coverage will reveal the brands that have generated the highest proportion of positive coverage, indicating that theirs are the strategies to learn from. Keep in mind that accurately evaluating tone is a challenge for AI-only media measurement tools, which is why we use human-augmented AI for reliable sentiment analysis.

Social Sharing

Social Sharing reveals which companies your audience is most engaged with. And, when analyzed alongside other metrics, like Tone or Key Message Penetration, it exposes the reach of that content. Consider Social Sharing a sign of the effectiveness of competitors’ coverage in resonating with your audience, for better or worse.

Share of Voice

How much attention is your brand receiving compared to your competitors? Which of your competitors dominates the media coverage relevant to your brand? Measuring Share of Voice is a broad indicator of brand awareness and your position within your market. This metric is useful for benchmarking your progress in increasing your company’s dominance in the industry conversation over time.

Key Message Penetration

While tracking the number of times your company was mentioned relative to competitors can show you who is leading your industry conversation, you can go deeper into the value of those mentions by measuring Key Message Penetration. In other words, how many of those media mentions reflect one of the core messages your brand wants to be known for? Not only will it show how effective peers’ messaging campaigns are, but you can learn from the outlets, authors, and strategies that give them the most success.

Identify Influencer Opportunities

Are there any journalists or publications that mention competitors often and favorably but aren’t covering your company? Do any of these authors generate outsized social sharing among your target audience?

Analyzing influencer data as a part of your competitor tracking will highlight the sources of their positive coverage and identify opportunities for your team to build relationships with industry influencers.

Learn From Competitor Crises

There is a lot you can learn from how your competitors handle communications crises relevant to your industry.

For instance, was their response proactive or reactive? Which messages resonated the most with your shared audience via social sharing? Which influencers covered their response positively? Negatively?

Analyzing their strategies in response to crises and the results will provide you with evidence-based recommendations in the event a similar crisis targets your company.

Use Predictive Analytics to Dominate the Conversation

A fully optimized media analytics program will not only allow you to learn from competitors’ past performance but will also help you to predict their future communications.

Using our predictive solutions, you can anticipate the messages your competitors plan to focus on in the coming weeks and the journalists they intend to target with that messaging. With this data, you can get a leg up on the narrative and dominate the conversations your competitors are vying for.

Strengthen Your PR Strategy with Competitive Intelligence

An in-depth understanding of your competitive landscape will help you develop a strong PR strategy. Detailed information on your competitors’ communications will highlight what works and what doesn’t with your shared audiences. Further, by benchmarking your communications performance against peers, you can identify opportunities for growth and measure your progress over time. PublicRelay supports your communications with advanced media analytics using a hybrid approach of cutting-edge technology and human analysts. Click here to learn more about how our solutions can help you to track your competitors!

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Editor’s Note: Chief Insights Officer Mark Weiner’s commitment to inspiring PR teams of every size to begin measuring their communications work led to his partnership with PublicRelay. Like Mark, we strive to support communications teams at every stage of PR Measurement – from simple, entry-level evaluation to more advanced PR attribution programs. And what better way than to join forces?

One of the biggest and most pervasive myths in public relations is that good measurement must be expensive and complicated. Years ago, speaking at a public relations conference, I shared stories from a variety of Fortune 500 clients. This seemed like the best way to make an impact on the importance of communications research, after all, if the biggest PR departments invested in research, everyone should. Then, a member of the audience commented, “I know what you’re saying is right, but I don’t have a Fortune 500 budget. So, rather than doing it wrong, I choose not to measure at all.” At that moment, I realized that in promoting my position, I perpetuated the myth I’m committed to dispelling.   

In fact, research is more accessible now to more professional communicators than ever before. The Institute for Public Relations and AMEC offer all the guidance you’ll need including case studies, methodology, and instructional frameworks. What’s more, communications technology platforms are now ubiquitous and at many price points.

Start With Simple PR Measurement

Even if management isn’t demanding PR measurement, you should consider what can be done and the positive effects of simple measurement. As you’ll certainly see on the IPR and AMEC websites, the measurati speak of four types of measures:

  1. Inputs
  2. Outputs
  3. Outcomes
  4. Business Results

Inputs track your expenditure in terms of time and money. By monitoring the levels of your investment, you can show how wisely you spent your budget and the efficiency of your actions. When combined with output, outcome, and business measures, your efficiency equation will show your “Cost per ‘X’” where “X” may mean “cost-per-thousand circulation” or “cost-per-positive story” or “cost-per-percentage point of increased awareness.” It’s a good and easy way to begin.

Outputs measures what you put out, such as news coverage and social media activity. In addition to simple quantitative tabulations, you can look at qualitative measures like the tone of coverage and the presence of key messages. Keep in mind that technology alone has trouble accurately assessing quality, so be prepared to review the computer’s calculations. Finally, the technology enables competitive analysis to track share-of-voice as well as other comparative measures. 

Outcomes measure the effects of your communications on the awareness, understanding, preferences, and attitudes of your target audience. These answers reside in people’s minds. There are two ways to measure inexpensively: survey technology and social media. Low-cost survey technology allows you to ask respondents the questions that reveal the extent to which – or even if – their positions changed because of your work. Social media enables you to gauge awareness, attitudes, and behavior as evident in posts where people share their opinions about and experiences with your product or service. Social media listening is like a giant unmoderated focus group, and you can learn a lot by simply listening.  

The purpose of connecting public relations activity to business results is to demonstrate PR’s ability to affect sales, cost efficiency, and risk mitigation. While certain methods are complicated and expensive, making the “PR-to-sales connection” can happen during times when PR operates in isolation (so there’s no other way to explain the result). You can also study social media results to uncover references to purchase behavior (“I just bought the new improved detergent, and it really works!”). While linking PR with sales is sexy, the most accessible approach to PR’s effect on business outcomes is efficiency. This requires linking PR Inputs with Outcomes to show that you’re doing more with less and for less. By lowering the cost on each positive story (budget divided by positive stories), you’re improving the return of the organization’s investment in PR. Finally, avoiding catastrophic costs is a measure of your good counsel. Compare your crisis averted with a competitor’s crisis and see what it cost them by doing it wrong. Measure their stock performance, their market share, or other data, much of which is publicly available through trade associations and trade media.

Low-Cost Best Practice PR Measurement

One of the best examples of PR research I’ve seen was entered in the PRSA Silver Anvil Awards. A small town submitted an entry that quantified inputs, outputs, and behavioral results – and the campaign cost nothing! The town sought to reduce the number of stolen cars by reminding trusting citizens to remove their keys from the ignition while running routine errands. The program began by tabulating the number of car thefts in the town and comparing their town data with neighboring communities. Once the behavioral benchmark was sent, the town began a media campaign in the local newspaper. Within a few months, car thefts were eliminated. 

Communicate Your PR Performance with Data

Over the past few years, I’ve adopted a new measurement motto: “Begin simply. Simply begin.” By committing fully to PR measurement, even in simple ways, you communicate PR performance in the language of the boardroom. Data transcends language barriers to demonstrate the effect of your good work. What’s more, fundamental measures create an appetite among senior executives for more PR programs, more good results, and more measurement. You, in turn, position yourself for more: bigger budgets, more resources, and greater acclaim.

Ready to show your impact? Download our PR attribution whitepaper to learn how you can connect your communications work to business results now!

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Mark Weiner is Chief Insights Officer for PublicRelay and the author of “PR Technology, Data and Insights: Igniting a Positive Return on Your Communications Investment.”

Originally published in PRNEWS April 2021 issue.

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There’s a reason the saying “communication is key” hasn’t fallen out of fashion. Straightforward and effective communication is the driving force that turns a good PR team into a great one. But PR professionals’ role extends beyond external-facing communications. They must also apply their expertise to the flow of information within their company. According to Forbes, a good company culture built on strong communications can quadruple company revenue. In that sense, every PR team should strive to have exemplary internal communications.

What is Internal Communications in PR?

Internal communications in PR is the sharing of information between departments, teams, and team members within a company. It can take the form of meetings, Q&As, task delegations, newsletters, and check-ins. If we imagine workplace operations as a freeway, then the internal communications is the traffic. Is the flow of traffic quick and efficient? Or is it grid-locked and bumper-to-bumper? Improving this communication is like getting everyone in your company to navigate from the same map and use their turn signals: things go much more smoothly!

Why is Internal Communications in PR Important?

Internal communications in PR is important because it keeps teams organized, ensures consistency across the company, and reduces the stress that confusion or miscommunication may cause employees. In fact, internal communications methods can reduce employee stress and turnover, and increase motivation for the simple reason that employees feel valued and informed.

Because communication impacts workplace operations and employee experience, its effects spill over to client-facing interactions and, eventually, workplace reputation.

Client Communications

Effective communication across your company influences how clients perceive your team and its operations. Receiving straightforward and consistent information indicates to your clients that your team is competent, efficient, and working from the same playbook. It also shows that in times of urgency or high stress, your team can easily organize and handle changes at a fast pace.

Workplace Reputation

Regular communications can reinforce your company culture and values, and promote transparency within the workplace. Not to mention, having avenues for employees to communicate their questions or concerns helps them to feel heard. When employees feel valued and aligned with their company’s vision, you will see the results reflected in employee reviews and external perceptions of your company as a place to work.

Ways to Improve Internal Communications for Your PR Team

Effective information transmission within your company is essential to maintaining a positive workplace culture and reputation.

Here are a few ways your PR team can improve your internal communications strategy:

Assess Your Current Communications Approach

How is your PR team currently sharing information within the company? Is there a strategy for facilitating information sharing between teams and departments? Examine your current strategy and identify any strengths and weaknesses so you can focus on changes that will benefit your team immediately. For candid feedback on your current operations, you can also conduct anonymous employee surveys. Because your communications ultimately affect workplace reputation, your team can also use media measurement to understand how your workplace culture is represented. Comparing your internal employee surveys with an analysis of your workplace reputation can highlight whether any issues are the result of internal or external PR.

Create an Internal Strategy

It’s easy to let communications within your organization slide without a strategy in place. Treat internal comms like your external PR strategy by developing an action plan with designated roles and protocols for each member of your team. Doing so establishes accountability with clearly defined roles, facilitates consistency with a structured plan of action, and ensures that your entire organization receives reliable information.

Share News Regularly

To be truly effective, sharing news internally must move in all directions: with “top-down” and “bottom-up” communication between higher and lower-level employees, and regular sharing across departments and within teams.

To facilitate multi-directional information sharing, your PR team can organize company-wide meetings with executive-led Q&As, and recommend “office hours” hosted by higher-level employees to give entry-level employees an avenue for sharing.

You can also keep the entire company informed by publishing a regular internal newsletter. This isn’t just constrained to company news and updates, but also sharing information on ongoing projects in various departments, any necessary FAQs, and employee successes and achievements.

Encourage Social Sharing

A team that is practiced and aligned on what the brand stands for is in an optimal position to share your company values. Employee brand ambassadors are a great way to optimize the best practices of your internal communications strategy, as this allows a consistent image of the brand to be shared by a trusted resource: your employees!

Your employee ambassadors can project workplace reputation and company culture to the public, which allows your audience to consume an approved image of your brand. Further, having employee brand ambassadors indicates that the workplace is organized, efficient, and unified in its mission, and that your employees are satisfied. They are a testament to your company culture and ultimately stand to improve your workplace reputation.

You can mobilize your employees as ambassadors by encouraging them to share company news, successes, and events on social media. People want to be proud of where they work and offering curated updates on company news through internal newsletters is a great way to give information to employees that they can easily share on their social media platforms.

Use Analytics to Improve Your Internal Communications

When a company is united with a successful internal communications strategy, the employees, clients, and overall brand benefit. By using communications to improve day-to-day operations and employee experience, you can strengthen and manage your workplace reputation.

PublicRelay can help your team take control of your internal comms by tracking how your workplace reputation is represented in your media coverage and benchmarking your progress. Using human-augmented technology, our advanced solution reliably detects sentiment and the complex topics that matter most to your brand.

Click here to learn more!

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Editor’s Note: Our Chief Insights Officer, Mark Weiner, wrote this column for PRNEWS November 2021 issue. The findings cited are based on PRNEWS’s survey of 150 communicators conducted in October 2021. Interestingly, his forecast for predictive analytics became a reality when PublicRelay launched its Predictive Suite in January 2022.

The results are in: The 2021 PR Measurement, Tech, and Talent Survey reveals where we are as a profession and where we’re headed, at least in terms of communications research and evaluation. In this column for Measurement Month, I’m focused on one question, specifically, “What’s the next big thing for communications research and evaluation?”  

The Advantage of Predictive Analytics for PR

Everyone answered this question to share their predictions, but, in an ironic twist, only 12% consider predictive analytics as a “big thing.” How odd that everyone felt comfortable aligning on the future, but only 17-out-of-150 respondents believe that research-based predictive analytics will play an important role.

Perhaps that’s why few PR people work in meteorology.

Significant resources are being applied to predictive analytics by savvy research providers who recognize its power to reveal important aspects for planning and activation. Imagine predicting the virality of a news item or a post. How would you like to know where your competitors are headed so you can preempt their position or mitigate any advantage? Consider the advantage of knowing which stories will—and will not – gain traction. How many times have you had to calm a client or an executive over your tepid response to their desire for a vanity press release, or their response to a negative story or a competitor’s announcement?

Why PR Measurement Needs Both Technology and Talent

The pendulum of “what’s important now and in the future” continues to swing. Of course, “near term” and “long term” are important distinctions when contemplating the future, but let’s look at each response to this survey question.

For one, consider the gap between the 5.1% of respondents who believe that what’s most important is “An emphasis on automation, AI and DIY,” versus the 21.7% who chose “A balanced mix of technology and talent.” Could it be that everyone already owns a PR platform? And now that they own it, perhaps they realize that technology in isolation is not the answer (it never was, and it never will be). The question evolves from “which technology?” to “who manages the technology?” and “how do we think about the data?” 

Surprise! Current technology is not a panacea: operators need training – the technology needs training, too. As someone who believes in our uniquely human contribution, I’m encouraged by this phenomenon, and you should be too: it underscores the paucity of talent in PR hiring situations – in the absence of viable candidates, talent trumps technology and you command greater remuneration.

I am encouraged by the lower scores attributed to “Automation, AI, and DIY.” While there’s much more that technology can do, we may have reached the stage where technology development for PR evolves towards iterative refinement. There aren’t many pure breakthroughs left to unleash upon the mass PR market beyond contact databases, media monitoring, and simple media analytics (although I believe that predictive holds great potential). When you consider how the activities most vulnerable to automation and AI are those which are rote and routine, we can see how PR is insulated. How many PR days are so mundane? Given our creative endeavors which require innovative thinking to address chaotic, unpredictable situations, you should have nothing to fear. And, based on the responses, you don’t.

That’s good news: we in public relations are safe from robot replacements and we may look forward to enhancements that make our work easier and faster so we can focus on what we’re singularly capable of achieving.

Communicators Still Want to Quantify PR’s Value

The least surprising responses are two sides of the same coin: “A fully integrated analysis across the marketing and communications mix” and “A solution for quantifying PR’s impact on business outcomes like sales and revenue generation.” A combined 46% of respondents envision this as PR’s next big thing. The two ideas are interrelated because to isolate PR’s impact on business outcomes, we also need to know our relative contribution across the marketing and communications mix.  As such, the second is predicated on the first.

But it’s been PR’s next big thing for 30 years.

The difference is that marketing and communications analytics have evolved dramatically. And here’s where technology shows great potential to boost integrated marketing communications. With cascades of data, business in general and PR specifically can ascend beyond what anyone would have imagined in the past. And these technologies continue to evolve. Now, we have access to lower-cost multi-touch attribution and marketing mix modeling. Multi-touch attribution collects specific user-level data to quickly isolate specific events and assess their impact on conversion (“the customer journey”). Marketing Mix Modeling was first used in the late 1990s. Applying advanced regression analysis, these statistical models quantify the success of marketing and communications activities over time. Unlike attribution modeling, it is much slower, favoring annual or semi-annual analysis and heavily dependent on historical data but it reveals a much bigger picture.

Each in their own way contributes to understanding PR’s impact on business outcomes and explains the ways by which PR interrelates with other marketing agents. When combined, attribution and modeling create an even more formidable platform to accurately quantify PR’s contribution and to inform near and long-term planning and evaluation.

Why ESG is the Next Big Thing in PR

Now for my prediction:  Often the contrarian, I believe that ESG will be the next big thing because it answers so much of what communicators envision for the future. Investment advisory services like Morningstar quantify ESG as a predicate for investment, and they estimate that one-third of all investors factor ESG into their buy and sell decisions. ESG is a function of two elements: a company’s behavior and the reputation it creates for doing good. To a high degree, PR owns reputation. Until now, investors considered reputation to be a “soft asset” that couldn’t be quantified. With the advent of ESG investing, that’s changed. What’s more, compared to attribution and marketing mix models which reveal PR’s ability to generate a few million dollars in revenue, reputation affects billions of dollars in market capitalization. ESG introduces PR to the big money.

PR’s Continuous Evolution

Only time will tell. As is so often true in the evolution of public relations, business, and humankind: the predicate isn’t so much about technology or methodology; it’s about people’s willingness to change. One thing about which we can be certain: our profession continues to evolve and elevate, and these changes will profoundly affect public relations as we know it.

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Mark Weiner is a Trustee of the Institute for Public Relations and the author of “PR Technology, Data and Insights: Igniting a Positive Return on Your Communications Investment.”

Originally published in PRNEWS November 2021 issue.

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